Archives for the month of: March, 2012

What is pink slime?

Eliza Barclay - "Why 'Pink Slime' Isn't That Different From Other Meat Products"It is a mixture of ground beef and other beef-based food additives.

“…is cheap meat filler made from beef scraps, really is made from beef and therefore doesn’t need to be listed as a separate ingredient.” –Washington Post

“She [Jill Riley, senior VP at the American Meat Institute] explained that the product, primarily used in ground beef, is inspected and regulated by the USDA daily.” –Fox News

“That lean finely textured beef gets blended into other ground beef, so where one hamburger patty contains the product, another might not. Any given final beef product sent to schools is composed of no more than 15 percent lean finely textured beef, he said.” –Huffington Post

Why is this important?

Well, it has been recently brought to the attention that Americans are consuming “pink slime” in their average beef consumptions. Concerns were specifically raised when it was speculated that this “pink slime” was fed to the children during lunchtime. Washington Post reports that “… it was difficult for schools to know whether the beef they bought had it or not.”

“While the U.S. Agriculture Department says the filler is safe to eat, this has not stopped a campaign by food activists…” –Reuters

It seems like there is a disagreement of “pink slime”  between the consumers and the United States Department of Agriculture.

“The politicians who plan to tour the plant — including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels — all agree with the industry view that pink slime has been unfairly maligned and mislabeled.” –Associated Press, by Josh Funk via Yahoo News.

However, as media and news broadcaster overexert actual reports, there could be an over-exaggeration of the topic. There are pictures (infographs) on various websites, TV cooking shows (TLC), and other mass media portraying “pink slime” as garbage and highly dangerous. However, the USDA released a press report stating that they will review and add additional choices for beef productions in the upcoming school year. Also, “USDA continues to affirm the safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef product for all consumers and urges customers to consult science based information on the safety and quality of this product. Lean Finely Textured Beef is a meat product derived from a process which separates fatty pieces from beef trimmings to reduce the overall fat content.” – USDA 

Reporter Susan Jones from CNS news writes, that “The law said all cigarette packages must carry one of the nine new warnings starting in September 2012.”

I then checked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website to see that they have listed a timeline of when they think this law can be implemented.

“September 22, 2012* – Cigarettes for sale or distribution in the United States can no longer be manufactured or advertised without the new cigarette health warnings” —FDA

But wait, did you see the asterisk next to the date? Clearly, I have overlooked at the little “star” that is next to “September 22, 2012*” From my previous post and from several other news such as Thomas Reuters, I had undeniably overlooked at the asterisk on the FDA website.

*The implementation date is uncertain, due to ongoing proceedings in the case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, No. 11-1482 (D.D.C.), on appeal, No. 11-5332 (D.C. Cir.).

The date is uncertain because of the continuous battle between the tobacco companies and FDA. Reporter Brett Norman from POLITICO states that “The Justice Department has appealed both rulings, and oral arguments on the injunction are scheduled for April 10 before the D.C. Court of Appeals.”

Cincinnati Federal Appeals Court ruled on March 19th that warning labels on cigarette packages does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s free speech reported by Bloomberg and TIME. You can also read about it in Joe Palazzolo’s blog (The Wall Street Journal).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces that starting in September of 2012, the FDA will be allowed to post warning labels by printing pictures onto the cigarette packages. You can view the final selection of nine images on the FDA website that will be soon to be seen on cigarette packages starting September this year.

In order to refresh your memory about cigarette warning labels, check out the video posted below for a quick summary of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to accomplish. This youtube video is presented by Associated Press. The content of the video is informative and correctly outlines the beginning stages of implementing warning labels on cigarette packages. You can also refer to one of my first posts about the warning labels HERE.

Now that you have a general idea of what the Food and Drug Administration is trying to accomplish, the video below is another brief clip reported by NewsyScience in regards to the current situation of the warning labels. The NewsyScience youtube channel accurately describes and informs the viewers the present state of what is happening to the warning labels. The proposed idea of printing gruesome images onto the cigarette packages was blocked by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in District of Columbia on February 29, 2012,. He explains to TheHuffingtonPost that “federal mandate to put the images, which include a sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, on cigarette packs violates the free speech amendment to the Constitution.” However, this case is being pending before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

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